The Wichita Eagle article - June 6, 1997

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Print interview with Rivers Cuomo
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Publication The Wichita Eagle
Interviewee Rivers Cuomo
Interviewer Michele Chan Santos
Date June 6, 1997
Title Weezer comes undone
Format Print
External link Via Newspapers.com (Page 1)
Via Newspapers.com (Page 2)
Associated concert Weezer concert: 06/09/1997
Weezer concert: 06/10/1997
References See where this interview is referenced on Weezerpedia

Weezer comes undone
Author: Michele Chan Santos (The Wichita Eagle)
Published: June 6, 1997


AFTER A HIT DEBUT ALBUM AND A STRING OF POPULAR VIDEOS, SINGER RIVERS CUOMO SAYS HE STILL FEELS LIKE AN OUTSIDER. BUT THEN AGAIN, HE'S THE MOST CYNICAL PERSON HE KNOWS.

Take a glance at the list of places where the rock band Weezer will open for the super-popular group No Doubt, and you'll see some of the biggest, prettiest concert venues in America: the San Diego Sports Arena, Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado, the Delta Center in Salt Lake City.

But when Weezer plays a concert in Wichita on Monday, it won't be playing the Kansas Coliseum. Or even the Cotillion. It will be at the Crown Bingo Arena at 600 S. Tyler Road.

"We're playing in a bingo hall?" Rivers Cuomo, Weezer's lead singer and songwriter, said during a telephone interview from Los Angeles.

After taking a moment to recover, he said, "I think I'll love it."

Weezer is playing such a small venue because it's playing alone. The drawing power of No Doubt is much larger, and that's why the rest of the concerts this summer take place in gigantic auditoriums.

"Playing coliseums every night could get to be a drag." said Cuomo, a 26-year-old English major at Harvard University. "Playing bingo halls every night could get to be a drag. I like to have variety."

Weezer scored several hits — "Undone (the Sweater Song)," "Say It Ain't So" — off of its eponymous 1994 album, which introduced its guitar-driven punk-pop sound to rock fans. Sales were helped along by several clever videos, including one for the hit "Buddy Holly" that spliced footage of the band into scenes from "Happy Days." The video won several MTV awards.

The band's second album, "Pinkerton," came out this year. Although it received stronger reviews, it hasn't sold as well as the first album. And the videos for "Pinkerton" aren't as high-concept as the band's earlier ones.

"We didn't make clever videos this time because we didn't want people to be attracted to us for extra-musical reasons," Cuomo said. He is happy with how "Pinkerton" turned out, although its message — relationships between men and women are impossible, often doomed — isn't very cheerful.

"It doesn't say something that's particularly positive. It's an evil, dark album. That's exactly what I wanted it to be," he said, with mock seriousness. "I am the most cynical person I've ever known in my life."

Even though he's a rock star whose group has sold millions of albums, Cuomo said he still feels like an outsider.

At Harvard, "I don't fit in at all," he said. "For one thing, they're all 18 and I'm 26. For another thing, they've never been out in the world. Mostly they went from prep school straight into Harvard. They never had some of the crazy experiences I had."

But he doesn't have to go back to school until the fall. For the next few months he and the rest of the band — bassist Matt Sharp, drummer Pat Wilson and guitarist Brian Bell — will be performing all over the country.

The best part is "walking out into the crowd after we play," he said, "and being crushed by a loving mob."

Where's Weezer?

  • Weezer will play Monday at the Crown Bingo Arena, 600 S. Tyler Road in Wichita. Doors open at 7 p.m. The Wichita band Room Full of Walters will open the show at 8 p.m. The concert is sold out.
  • And Weezer will share a bill with No Doubt and Red Five at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Sandstone Amphitheatre, 633 N. 130th, Bonner Springs. Tickets are $21 reserved or pit, $19 lawn, and available at Ticket Central outlets, including Mall Cinemas and Northrock Cinemas in Wichita, or charge by phone by calling (800) 771-3666.

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